Oil Trader Indicted in International Bribery and Money Laundering Conspiracy Involving Corrupt Payments to Ecuadorian Officials | OPA

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York returned an indictment today against a trader at the U.S. subsidiary of a multinational oil distributor and trading company (Trading Company), for his alleged participation in a five-year international bribery and money laundering scheme involving corrupt payments to Ecuadorian officials. 

Acting Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt, Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme for the Eastern District of New York, and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.

The two-count indictment charges Javier Aguilar, 46, a citizen of Mexico and resident of the United States, with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

As alleged in court documents, including the criminal complaint that was unsealed today, between approximately 2015 and July 2020, Aguilar and others participated in a conspiracy to pay and conceal bribes to then-Ecuadorian officials, including at Empresa Publica de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador (Petroecuador) in order to obtain and retain business for Trading Company, in particular, a $300 million contract to purchase fuel oil that was awarded to a state-owned entity for the benefit of Trading Company.   

To promote the bribery scheme and conceal its proceeds, Aguilar and his co-conspirators allegedly agreed to use sham consulting agreements between bribe paying intermediaries and offshore shell companies, into whose accounts Trading Company paid funds while knowing that they would be used to pay bribes to the Ecuadorian government officials. 

According to the allegations, during the scheme, Aguilar and his co-conspirators caused the payment of approximately $870,000 in bribes that they had promised to then-Ecuadorian officials on behalf of Trading Company.

The charges in the indictment and in the original complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by FBI’s International Corruption squad in Miami.  The government’s case is being handled by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.  Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Derek J. Ettinger, Jonathan P. Robell, and Clayton P. Solomon, MLARS Trial Attorneys Ann Brickley and Adam Schwartz, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark E. Bini and Andrey Spektor are prosecuting the case.  The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in the investigation.

The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters.  Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorney’s Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office.  In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption.  Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov (link sends e-mail) or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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